A comprehensive handy guide to choosing and living in a retirement village has been written by Brian Colegate.

Colegate, now aged 82, was chatting to his daughter a few years ago when a comment by her, about not knowing what's around the corner, jolted him into reviewing his situation.

He was living alone in a three-bedroom house with all the assorted chores to do inside as well as in the garden.

He was happy in his home but saw the sense in downsizing so started investigating the prospect of living in a retirement village.

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It wasn't long until Colegate, who had the support from family, was living comfortably in a retirement village.

His experience in researching the idea of living in a retirement village led to the idea of writing a book.

Although there was a lot of information from retirement village open days and information packs, Colegate felt there wasn't a lot else to make a judgment on such a major issue.

So he's written a 120-page book, called Retirement Villages Residents' Verdict, which covers a lot of easy-to-read information.

"I was intent on producing something that filled the gap between open days/info packs and the internet.

"The internet has a wealth of information but a hard-copy book is a good communication tool for the family as much as directly to the people who are contemplating going into a retirement village.

"I then thought that the only way that we can let people know just what it really is like is by asking the residents.

"I interviewed a number of residents under the main five operators around the country as well as some smaller ones."

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Colegate also sent out more than 180 questionnaires and received 90 responses.

"One of the 23 questions was 'do you like it here?' and out of that, 83 said yes, four said they loved it, and three said it was okay."

Colegate, who thanked Eliza Thomson for proof-reading the book, said his first question to residents was 'why did you come here?'.

"There were four main reasons including security, no maintenance worries, companionship and health care."

He said another theme that came through was "don't leave it too late".

"In other words don't go in there when you're almost needing care and all that.

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"Go in so you've got a lifestyle to look forward to."

Brian Colegate with a copy of his new book about retirement village living. Photo / David Haxton
Brian Colegate with a copy of his new book about retirement village living. Photo / David Haxton

He also said people should "go in with their eyes open" when looking at the financials, but keeping in mind "is this lifestyle going to make me happy?"

Another factor was the fact a number of people were getting strong sale prices for their home which meant once they were in a retirement village they had "plenty of dough".

"That has become a good reason to go."

Colegate moved into Coastal Villas, in Raumati Beach, on the Kāpiti Coast, in mid-June two years ago and is enjoying the lifestyle.

"I think it's the sheer convenience.

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"The convenience of being in a place that's easily kept.

"I also get three meals delivered from the restaurant on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, and I halve them so that covers six days.

And then I go and have something I want.

"So when people ask me what I've got in my fridge I say I've got milk and beer.

"It's an easy lifestyle. There's a spa and a pool. There's a full-size snooker table and I have invited the odd friend in to play.

"I have a good balance between my involvement in the community on the wider basis and the village community."

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Copies of Retirement Villages Residents' Verdict are available at PaperPlus.